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Training Health Professionals to Provide Diabetes Education

State: California

Submitted Date: 2018

Public Health Issue
  • An estimated 45% of adults in Solano County, Calif., have prediabetes, a condition that usually leads to diabetes.
  • The National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP) lifestyle change program can help people with prediabetes lose weight and exercise to prevent diabetes. Yet, many people who could benefit from the National DPP cannot participate because of a lack of available programs.
  • Raising awareness about the value of National DPP lifestyle change programs among physicians and other healthcare providers; encouraging them to make referrals to the program; and training them to lead programs, themselves, can increase availability of and participation in these important programs.
Program Action
  • Touro University in Solano County, Calif., works to decrease the county’s rate of prediabetes by ensuring that its healthcare professional students, regardless of specialty, become trained National DPP lifestyle change program coaches. The Touro University National DPP coordinators match trained student coaches with community groups to hold National DPP cohort classes.
  • Solano Public Health, the county health department, coordinates closely with Touro University on parallel programs. They also merged efforts with Touro to provide better access to health services for county residents and more local opportunities for students.
  • A first-of-its-kind Mobile Diabetes Education Center, staffed with a Certified Diabetes Educator® and trained student coaches, was made possible with support from the local Sutter Health System.
  • Touro University now has six master trainers and 380 coaches, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, pharmacy assistants, students, and public health graduates, who are trained National DPP lifestyle change coaches. These coaches volunteer as part of service learning. Touro also encourages students who have graduated to remain active as coaches.
  • In partnership with Solano Public health, 18 cohorts of residents with prediabetes participated in diabetes prevention education led by Touro/Solano County Public Health-trained leaders.
  • Because coaching teams combine students from medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and public health, students gain valuable interdisciplinary experience as a model for their future work in implementing team-based care which is a recommended evidence-based practice.
  • The mobile education center takes diabetes education on the road to all of Solano County to make accessing health services less of a challenge. In 2017, the mobile center reached more than 1,800 community residents with free diabetes screening (finger stick glucose and A1C), National DPP lifestyle change programs, diabetes education, and Dia-BEAT-it exercise classes.
Dr. Jay Shubrook
Touro University California